“When we encounter challenges in product selection and lead-time, my knowledge of SCM has helped me in finding solutions”
Charles Ogomola works at an Abuja-based community pharmacy which serves 150 customers daily. A graduate of pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Nigeria, Charles relies heavily on a particular supply chain management (SCM) module he took in the final year of his degree. “When we encounter challenges in product selection and lead-time, my knowledge of SCM has helped me in finding solutions,” he says. Stockouts can be a menace, and have dire consequences, he says. “HIV treatment requires at least 90% adherence. If a drug is not available, the therapy fails. It is up to us to procure the right drugs in the right quantities at the right time.”
Charles is delighted to be the overall highest-scoring winner of the recent Healthcare Supply Chain Management game based on the Supply Chain Manager’s Handbook by John Snow, Inc. “It was such a well-designed game, easy to manipulate, and it refreshed my memory and taught me new things.” As for the prize – an online course in SCM – Charles is particularly excited. “I am always online trying to gather more knowledge on SCM without having to pay for a formal course, so this is a wonderful opportunity,” says Charles.
“Supply chain is the backbone of program
New Delhi, India
Raman Kumar believes that a lack of computer-based data is the biggest issue that supply chains in India face. A program officer in vaccine logistics and cold chain in India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Raman and his co-workers often have to check records and files compiled manually at the national level, to get insight into state stock levels of vaccines.
This is slowly changing. The Indian government has piloted computer-based logistics management information system in some of its states and the plan is to expand this system to the rest of the country, improving access to supply chain data. “Supply chain is the backbone of program and planning,” says Raman.
Supply chain logistics was not always Raman’s planned career path. He had originally dreamed of a career in IT, but when he was 17, he lost a very close relative in a fatal road accident. “I believe they would still be here if the necessary public health facilities and supplies had been available. They could have received better care,” he says.
So Raman changed direction after a first degree in IT, and went on to study hospital and health management. There, he realized how critical supplies were, which led him to pursue supply logistics as a career, he says.
Raman is one of three top scorers in the recent Healthcare Supply Chain Management Game, based on the Supply Chain Manager’s Handbook by John Snow, Inc. He has won a course on effective supply chain management at the Open University. “It will give me a good overall understanding of how supply chains can work more efficiently, and I expect it to inform my daily work in a meaningful way,” he says.
"No matter what discovery I helped make, whatever new drug I helped produce, it wouldn’t matter if the product didn’t reach those who needed it the most"
San Francisco, USA
Maria Ma remembers the disillusion well. A microbiology graduate, she was working as a bench researcher in a lab when she had a moment of realization. “No matter what discovery I helped make, whatever new drug I helped produce, it wouldn’t matter if the product didn’t reach those who needed it the most,” she say. So powerful was that realization that Maria changed the course of her career and went on to get her Master’s in Public Health from the University of California at Berkeley. It was the key to being able to make a bigger impact on equity and access, she says.
Today she sources data and uses it to build an evidence base for policy recommendations at a non-profit agency that advocates to keep antibiotics effective. Recently, Maria played the online Healthcare Supply Chain Game based on the Supply Chain Manager’s Handbook by John Snow, Inc. She was one of three winners. It renewed her interest in supply chains and logistics and she is looking forward to starting the prize course she has won on effective supply chain management, with the Open University. It is impossible to address public health issues effectively without realizing that logistics and data play a huge role, she says. “I am expecting this course to give me an additional perspective and help me understand the big picture more effectively.”